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There is a lot of negative discussion surrounding standardized testing in schools. Administrators use these to score and rate their teachers, schools expend this to improve themselves, while states and districts use these numbers to grade schools and support disconnections in academic performance. Parents use these scores when they are looking to buy houses. Realtors get to know these numbers to help home buyers and political figures recognize need when they connect a failing school and its neighborhood test scores. Are any of these reasons why a child needs to go through a rigorous unit of test preparation? Not exactly, but the need and the results do have some implications that are significant in our educational world of operation and our future.
Why Test Preparation Matters
Creating and designing a test prep unit or Bootcamp is no different than giving everyone a full day to practice swimming before they are expected to take a swim assessment at camp. Every child comes from a different story and by providing children with a level of practice before the state standardized test, you give some of the “have nots” a chance to perform right alongside their “haves.” Students are bright, and circumstances do not take that away, but testing is a skill that sits beside foundational knowledge. Some students don’t have the same access as others and if testing isn’t explicitly designed and utilized, it could make school scores plummet.
Test Preparation Can Alleviate Test Taking Anxiety
There are students in this world that can produce any kind of project, argument or paper that shows understanding and application of content knowledge. When it comes to a multiple-choice test, however, they freeze under pressure. Students talk themselves out of correct answers, bubble incorrectly, and even have their first true panic attacks which can set themselves up to fail at their very best subjects. Simply by letting students walk through practice tests out loud and by simulating a testing session, students become more at ease with the actual assessment on test day. Even the brightest student, given the opportunity, star tutor and best school, may still fall victim to testing anxiety, which is why teachers can make it a moment to strengthen each child’s mental health as well as their academic output.
Test Preparation Prepares Students for Adulthood
How do people get driver’s licenses? They pass a standardized test. How do students earn scholarships or get into college? They score well on standardized tests. How do doctors and lawyers practice in their fields? Many, many hours of standardized tests. Instead of it being taboo, maybe test-taking preparation is just another facet in our classroom. We are getting better at something that we will use later in life. Test preparation, testing Bootcamp, testing as a genre, can all be useful elements, starting at a very young age. Our approach as educators should be to separate the actual test and the pressures that it puts on politics and policy in order to show our students how to use the tools we have given them all year to outsmart the wrong answers. Through unique, individualized and well-developed test prep, our supported students will succeed. Youngsters taking these tests year after year will become stronger and their approach will work in their favor as they understand that they are developing skills needed as soon as they are of driving age. If teachers can change the delivery of the message then the stigma and results will turn towards the positive and standardized tests will just be another norm in developing and educating the whole child.